Kinshasa is the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (once called Zaire). It is the third largest city in the continent of Africa (after Lagos and Cairo). About eleven million people live there. Kinshasa is also a province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Henry Morton Stanley founded (started) the town in 1881 and called it Léopoldville (after King Léopold II of Belgium, who controlled the Congo Free State, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), next to a village called Nshasa or Kinshasa. The city was originally private property (not public). The post developed successfully as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometres (190 mi) below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matadi. Later a railway went around the falls.
Léopoldville changed its name to Kinshasa in 1966.
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- "Congo (Kinshasa)". U.S. Department of State.